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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Throne of Glass (#1-3) by Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: 2012
Source: Bought
Rating: A-

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Sarah J. Maas is a truly masterful storyteller. There are certain qualities in a book that really pull me in, and the first is powerful character development, which Maas is obviously no rookie at. From the opening line of the novel, Maas sets the scene for this incredibly strong-willed, sharp, unrelenting heroine named Celaena, who seems flawless even in the most trying circumstances—working as a slave in the salt-mines of a land named Endovier. I came to sympathize with, and love Celaena when her physical and emotional strength were tested at every plot turn. Maas reveals a soft side to her heroine that is passionately susceptible to such mortal dilemmas as forbidden love, shame and uncertainty, which make her a realistic and grounded character that really drives the novel forward.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone who enjoys a fast-paced fantasy story spiced with mystery, intrigue, betrayal, romance, wit and soooo much more. I happen to be a tiny bit obsessed with fantasy/dystopian novels, so I’ve read my fair share of bad ones. Take it from me: Throne of Glass is not one of them.

With that said, although I loved the plot’s twists and turns, the ultimate resolution to Celaena’s most difficult mystery felt somehow too abrupt (maybe because I was enjoying the story too much!) I wasn’t all that satisfied with the fact that after an incredible journey with Celeana through victory, heartbreak, and everything else, her answers were almost handed to her. I would have loved to see her power through her last duel without help. It left me with a strangely sad feeling that the invincible assassin at the beginning of the book was not sharp enough after all to defeat her enemies unaided. Sorry for seeming vague, but I don’t want to spoil anything, and you should still read it!

Regardless of how Celaena discovered the truth behind her compelling mystery, I loved the story enough to want to finish the series. YA books are always hard because fitting a solid plot and developing mystery is a tough task to do in the 80,000 word window that these books usually have, but Sarah J. Maas manages to pull you in in keep you glued to the world she has created. It is vivid and riveting, and not at all overdone. By the time I flipped to the last page I felt so invested in her characters, and in their future, which is the mark of a great book!

PST! Kelsey is a new contributor to BAM Book Reviews! Learn more about her here.